Letters to the Editor, November 3, 2016

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 November, 2016, 5:20pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 November, 2016, 5:20pm

Young LGBT people deserve more support

All power to Priscilla Lui Tsang Sun-kai, chairperson of the Hong Kong Committee on Children’s Rights (“Vulnerable residents of care homes need much better protection”, October 31) in her efforts to protect children and young persons. She has her work cut out.

I would like to offer two ­other areas of concern, regarding deleterious health effects on children and young people in Hong Kong, for her consideration.

Could something be done to prevent the suicides and depression among young lesbian, ­bisexual, gay, transgender (LGBT) people living here? It is an established statistic that young LGBT people have ­suicide rates higher than others. This is not in the least surprising given the ignorance that abounds in society here, with some groups even ­opposing the outlawing of discrimination against LGBT ­people, period.

Many young people, I am sure, are in such families, where parents hold these outdated and harmful beliefs.

Enlightened discussion at the very least could help to lift the cloud of misery.

This is something that would have helped me when I was very young. After all, in an increasing number of similarly organised regions like Hong Kong, LGBT people are getting married in vast numbers.

On a second and completely unrelated issue, every day I see the happy contented faces of typical well-cared-for Hong Kong children being forced to breathe in cigarette smoke on the streets of Kowloon.

As an oldie, I am used to it and it probably has less effect on me. But for the very young and young, it must be extremely ­dangerous.

I don’t want to interfere with someone’s right to smoke but there are ways of minimising its effect. Look no further than ­Tokyo for ideas.

Paul Jacobson, Yau Ma Tei

Let hearts have final say on fate of boatpeople

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has described people smugglers as “the worst criminals imaginable” (“Turnbull backs lifetime visa ban for boatpeople”, October 31).

He blames these criminal gangs for the problem of asylum seekers who come to Australia by boat and wants Parliament to back legislation banning these refugees, who have no visas in the first place, from ever being allowed to settle in Australia. He argues that it is important to pass this legislation in order to protect the country and the integrity of its borders.

I can understand the need for a government to protect its ­borders, but surely we all have a duty to help people in need like genuine asylum seekers.

I wish the Australian government would adopt a more ­open-hearted approach.

Heidi Cheng, Tseung Kwan O

World needs to join hands on refugee issue

Australian premier Malcolm Turnbull is taking a tough stand against asylum seekers trying to get into the country by boat.

He says they will never be allowed to settle in the ­country, and that he intends to send an “absolutely unflinching, unequivocal message” that boatpeople are never going to be allowed in Australia.

While I can understand that critics would say this is a merciless position to adopt, I do understand why the Australian government will not let these kinds of asylum seekers settle in the country.

The priority for a government of any nation is the welfare of its citizens. Above all else, they must be protected. The huge ­influx of refugees into ­Germany has presented the country with huge social problems.

There is little point in allowing large numbers of refugees to stay in a country if this causes social upheaval. They are ­seeking a safe and stable life, but often that is not what they ­actually encounter.

I support this latest move by the Australian government. It wants to prevent social problems and make the welfare of its own citizens its priority.

It cannot be expected to shoulder the burden of so many boatpeople.

The global problem of refugees requires a concerted effort by all nations, and a bigger ­contribution from some of the most powerful, including the United States. Countries like the US should be taking the lead on this issue.

Kathleen Kong Hoi-Hung, Hang Hau

Closeness to China sparks rights fears

I was shocked to read about a Philippine police van being rammed into protesters during an anti-US rally at the American embassy in Manila (“Police van rams protesters at rally outside US embassy”, October 20).

It made me think about the latest political developments in the Philippines and some of the inflammatory comments that have been made by its ­president, Rodrigo Duterte.

He has used inappropriate language when talking about some world leaders, including making derogatory comments about US President Barack Obama.

He may have objections to aspects of American foreign ­policy, but that is no justification for speaking in that way about Mr Obama.

I am also concerned about his attitude towards human rights in the Philippines.

If I were a citizen, I think I would leave the country if I could while he ­remains president.

Duterte appears, with his changes in foreign policy, to be moving closer to China and ­further away from Washington.

Also, we seem to be seeing him threatening to take the same approach to human rights in his country as Beijing has taken towards its citizens.

I hope when it comes to ­human rights, the government in Manila will not become like ­Beijing.

Chris Lam, Po Lam

New MTR line likely to be a mixed blessing

There are some positive and negative aspects to the MTR’s Kwun Tong Line extension.

I can understand why residents of Whampoa Garden may ­welcome the new Whampoa station, as they will no longer be so reliant on road transport and journeys will not take so long.

Commuters will not have to stand in long queues in bad weather for buses and be stuck in traffic jams. And, of course, there will be less roadside air pollution.

However, with the opening of the station, more tourists will come to these areas and this could lead to overcrowding on trains at Whampoa and Ho Man Tin stations. To alleviate this problem, the MTR Corporation should add coaches or increase the ­frequency of trains.

I am also concerned about small businesses in the area. With the opening of these two stations, rents have risen and smaller shops will struggle to survive.

Donald Chan Wing-yin, Tseung Kwan O

When will HK see the light on solar power?

“Check out the sweet roof,” said Tesla boss Elon Musk, introducing the company’s new solar roof tiles to the public (“Now available in other colours”, ­November 2).

This brings to mind a question I’ve long had. Why do we see no solar panels on buildings in Hong Kong? One reason might be that in such a vertical city, ­solar power can deliver only a small fraction of our electricity needs. But surely some is better than none. In my own village of Discovery Bay, we have a lot more medium- and low-rise housing that would benefit from solar power.

In Siena village, we even have exactly the same Tuscan roof tiles that Mr Musk is promoting in California. And yet Hong Kong has no incentive for solar, such as the common provision elsewhere for excess solar power to be sold back to the grid.

How about it, Hong Kong government? Surely promoting solar power is at least one thing that all folk in the fractious ­Legislative Council could agree on?

Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay